Let Kenyans see who signed the SGR contract from the President to the DP, and the Treasury chief at the time. Who are the Maniacs?

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I have exclusively obtained the SGR contract, says Murkomen.

Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen has announced a breakthrough in the search for the ‘sensitive’ SGR contract.

Taking to his Twitter, Murkomen shared the documents disclosing he has given extra copies to the majority leaders of both the Senate and the National Assembly.

“As promised I have released the standard gauge railway agreements to the people of Kenya. I have given a copy to the majority leaders Kimani Ichungwa and Aaron Cheruiyot,” he said.

The CS said the duo will table it in the respective Houses of Parliament.

He said he has also shared a copy with the media.

When he appeared for vetting, Murkomen vowed to make public details of the contract, which he said has remained opaque.

This is despite Kenyans pushing to know whether the Kenya Ports Authority was used to guarantee the loans from the Chinese government.

SGR cost is said to have hit Sh670 billion.

During a recent TV interview, the CS said he was inching closer to locating the contract.

“SGR is our biggest debt, we pay a lot of money every month to our friends in China.

“I am going to make the agreement public anytime soon, so that the people of Kenya can be able to read and understand the contents of that agreement,” he said.

Murkomen the big-mouth guy for President Ruto has been in the spot now for a while and he is enjoying every minute of it. He has the Kenyan national airline in complete chaos with 12,000 KQ passengers stranded and threatened to get the pilots fired after 24 hours if they do not come back to work.

“The people of Kenya are neither happy nor willing to continue subsidizing Kenya Airways, and we have heard their voice loud and clear. As for now, I urge the pilots to be part of the solution by working with us to resolve these issues” he added.

Someone must have told him that the pilots have a better chance of getting other jobs with so many airlines operating from Nairobi than he, Murkomen has of ever getting a job if Ruto’s shaking political airplane collapses.

This is the worst time for KQ to be out of the air. This is the time most people travel for Christmas and New Year festivities. Don’t screw that up. And people are booking now for those trips. Do you think anybody is going to book Kenya Airways? That is bad for us because we love our airways. Sort this out, please.

Then Murkomen and his confused boys said Kenyans do not want to subsidize Kenyan Airways. Fine, then sell it.

Problem is with the amount of debts the Kenya Airways has, nobody would ever buy them but you can sell the airplanes as scrap material and China could buy them and actually put them to very good use once they take the planes to China.

The problem, is with the little money the government can possibly get they wouldn’t even be able to pay the Kenya Airways debt. It will be a garage sale for a heap of crap.

So yes Kenya can surrender the planes and for the first time in our history, there would be no such thing as a national airline for our country. If that is part of the price of having a Ruto government then Kenyans will take it regardless of how many grains of salt they need with that.

The other day the CS for Education Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu also declared that the Ruto government does not want to fund public universities. Another brilliant idea. Sell them to private investors but remember those public universities are engulfed in hundreds of billions in debt.

Nobody is going to buy them as education institutions but private investors can buy the huge buildings, land property occupied by our public universities and sell them as offices and factory spaces for manufacturing. China can buy all of them and turn them into factories. Great. Start with my old campus in Nairobi. It is a magnificent piece of buildings and land right at the heart of the city. The developers can it for free and just pay some of the debts they owe. The students can go to hell or somewhere else. Problem solved.

Then our post-secondary public education system can die a natural death and the Kenya government can concentrate on nursery schools and primary school education. After all, who needs higher education when you cannot get a job with a mechanical engineering degree plus post-graduate education like one of my very beloved young nephews he is now busy making a living doing his own business.

Now we need to get the details on the SGR contract. It is running close to Shs. 1 trillion in total debt and Kenya pays billions every month for that loan. How did the country get here? There was a time Ruto as DP would speak of nothing else but the great SGR which was going to bring our country to overwhelming development and wealth. What changed other than Uhuru not supporting William Ruto for the presidency in 2022?

This was the same time Ruto and his buddy running the Treasury at the time, Henry Rotich, were promising Kenyans they were building dams that would help provide food to the whole country. That crashed too and Ruto now wants to build 100 dams according to his mouth-open CS officers like Linturi the CS for Agriculture.

Kenyans need the complete load on the SGR and where we go from here. Murkomen said the other day that they will extend the SGR to Kisumu and Malaba. That is crap talk when the government is so broke it cannot even feed its citizens. This SGR thing needs a complete rethink.

The amount of money and debt already invested in it by the Kenyan taxpayers means its failure will be a complete disaster for the country and its economy. Too big to fail but give Kenyans the details and the options, not just political hot talk.

I love the SGR and have traveled in it with my family from Nairobi to Mombasa many times. It is just a different vibe for passengers like me who used to take a whole night by rail to Mombasa under very difficult travel conditions. SGR trains are clean and very good but they have serious logistical problems for passengers.

In Mombasa, the terminus is at Miritini outside Mombasa City itself.

It is beautifully designed but you need a taxi which costs you a whole bundle to get from the SGR terminus in Mombasa to actually go to Mombasa City that already has railway stations that could have been linked up to make travelers from Nairobi go directly to Mombasa by SGR. That was a mistake that can be solved by linking Miritini Terminus to the existing railway station in Mombasa and even extending one to Malindi.

The taxi drivers at Miritini SGR Terminus in Mombasa are very good. They have a system where they take you from the place and drop you in the City wherever you want and when you are traveling back days or weeks later to Nairobi through SGR you call them or text them and they pick and take you there. It makes the system work very well.

In Nairobi, it is the same thing. You cannot get to your SGR train from the old Railway Station because it is not linked there. You have to go to Roysambu area in the city and that is another taxi for a few thousand shillings.

In fact the money you pay to get to the SGR station in Nairobi and the money you pay to be transported from Miritini Terminus to you to Mombasa city is more than the money you pay for the SGR train for the round trip. My friends in Mombasa were telling me I would be better off just taking an air flight from Nairobi to Mombasa and back than using the SGR but I told them I wanted to see the landscape of the country and that is one thing the SGR gives you in plenty.

And yes taking the SGR to Kisumu is already a very welcome move for Kenyans. It is a great trip when you see your country as you travel in it. I am hoping this Christmas this service will be readily available to Kenyans.

The biggest problem Kenyans have today is that we are a totally broke country. Kenya could be more broke than Sri Lanka which has declared national bankruptcy or even Lebanon where people need guns to go to their own banks to get money.

The Kenyan government needs Shs. 2.2 trillion per year just to pay wages for its employees. They don’t have that money and Ruto wants to spend more to employ more people in line with his election promises. Too bad. No money. The loan bill per year is more than Kshs. 1 trillion. Ruto now says Kenya needs Shs. 3 trillion revenue annually just to pay wages and debt. Kenya doesn’t have that.

We can pray and fast all we want but if the country can’t figure out how to get money and keep the country running to renew itself economically we are staring at a very dreadful future with an even a more dreadful government to handle it.

We have to get through it just like we had to go through Moi and not lose the country. But let’s not kid ourselves. We have never faced anything this brutal in our politics and economy as a country before.

We are ready for it. That is the good news. But Rutonomics is going to be a real nightmare because even he doesn’t have a clue what it is. Kenyans have handled bigger problems and they are going to handle this too but it is going to be a tough one. Fair enough the country will deal with it.

Here are some basic we are getting from the SGR deal so far and Ruto’s big Treasury boss Henry Rotich was the big signatory for the Kenya government. That is just the beginning of the story.

A document believed to be the loan agreement between Kenya and China for funding of the 578km Standard Gauge Railway suggests that Kenya exempted repayments as well as goods procured for the construction work from all taxes.

According to the 60-page document shared with journalists, the contract exerts stringent borrowing and repayment conditions on Kenya and stipulates hefty penalties that the country will bear in the event that it defaults on any instalment or is late in making payments when they fall due.

Kenya borrowed $3.8 billion from the China Export Import (Exim) Bank for construction of the railway line between Mombasa and Nairobi and was to repay the loan in 10 years (indicated in the contract as 120 months). By today’s exchange rate, the value of the loan would be Sh494 billion.

The contract states categorically that in the event of a dispute, the laws of China would apply in determining such a dispute. “The waiver of immunity by the Borrower, the irrevocable submissions of the arbitration of China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission and the appointment of the Borrower’s Process Agent are legal, valid, binding and enforceable and any award obtained in arbitration will be, if introduced, evidence for enforcement in any proceedings against the Borrower and its assets in the Republic of Kenya,” the contract believed to have originated from the Roads, Transport and Public Works Ministry states.

In a Twitter post, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry, Kipchumba Murkomen, said: “As promised I have released the SGR agreements to the people of Kenya. I have given a copy to the Majority Leaders @Kimaniinchungwah and @Aaroncheruiyot for them to table in the respective Houses of Parliament. I have also shared a copy with the media.”

His tweet lent credence to the authenticity of the document although there was more than one version in circulation, raising questions over which of the two slightly varying documents was the genuine one.

Both documents

One had 60 pages and was marked “confidential” while the other had 20 pages and was not marked as confidential. The title pages of both documents were also missing although each page was countersigned, presumably by a Kenyan and Chinese representative. Although the document was signed in 2014, it took three years for Kenya to complete the SGR project, which was commissioned on May 31, 2017.

Michael Kamau was the CS for Transport and Infrastructure when the contract was signed. He was, however, dropped after he was linked to a corruption scandal and was succeeded by James Macharia in March 2015. Macharia was the Cabinet Secretary when SGR was commissioned.

However, the contract lists Treasury as the borrower, meaning that Henry Rotich was the CS when the deal was inked. Indeed, Rotich signed the contract on Kenya’s behalf while Li Ru-ogu, the chairman and president of China Exim Bank signed on behalf of the lender.

That may help Kenyans understand “the state capture” Ruto and his friends keep crying about and pretending to fight. Who was Henry Rotich capturing the state for when he screwed the SGR deal and other things like money stolen from building dams? For President Uhuru or for Ruto his deputy? He is facing trial now and maybe he will tell Kenyans about that.

The contract obligates Kenya to inform China in the event that there is any law, decree or regulation materially affecting the Borrower or the Commercial Contract.

Kenya is also under obligation to inform China in case there is an event that prevents or interferes with the performance by Kenya of its obligations to China with respect to the debt.

My guess now is that William Ruto is calling Murkomen and telling him to bury that SGR contract from the Kenyan public because Ruto’s handwriting and efforts are all over it and this is really going to hurt Ruto’s pretended credibility on everything from SGR to all his fake wars against Uhuru.

Sorry, but it is too late for that. Murkomen did what five-year-old kids do when you give them too big toys to play with. They can throw it in their face and then you may need to call the ambulance. That is for kids. I don’t know what to do with big old Murkomen on this. Excuse me for that.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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